State jobless rate holds steady in March

Florida’s unemployment rate remained unchanged from February to March, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

The 3.5 percent jobless mark represents 360,000 Floridians out of work from a workforce of 10.3 million, an increase of 3,000 listed as unemployed from February to March.

The state unemployment rate remains below the national mark of 3.8 percent. Florida officials highlighted that the state has seen an increase of 209,700 jobs over the past year, an increase of 2.4 percent.

The job category with the biggest growth during that time was professional and business services, which grew by 50,500 positions. Other categories with the top year-to-year growth were education and health services; leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation, and utilities; and construction.

Over the past year, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan statistical area had the largest increase in jobs at 55,500, or 2.1 percent; followed by the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area at 47,400 jobs, a 3.7 percent increase; and the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area at 29,600 jobs, a 2.2 percent increase.

The Panama City area, still recovering from Hurricane Michael in October, reported a decrease of 1,000 jobs over the past year, a 1.2 percent drop.